BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans on Broadway and the 60th Anniversary of FLOWER DRUM SONG

Six weeks of fundraising culminates in an extravaganza of Broadway stars, extraordinary ensembles and one-of-a-kind performances at Red Bucket Follies at 4:30 pm on Monday, December 3, and at 2 pm on Tuesday, December 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. The show is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang
The company on the stage of The New Amsterdam Theatre in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

The opening number of BC/EFA’s Red Bucket Follies will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Flower Drum Song and will honor the legacy of Asian-Americans on Broadway.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Paying tribute to the trailblazing productions of Flower Drum Song, the number will feature members of the original 1958 cast as well as Asians currently on Broadway. The piece will celebrate Broadway’s diversity and the diversity within the Asian-American experience. The number was conceived by Lainie Sakakura and Telly Leung, and written by Lainie Sakakura, cast members from the 2002 David Henry Hwang revisal of Flower Drum Song. Alex Sanchez will direct and choreograph.

The Elders - Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang
The Elders – Left to right Paula Chin, Victoria Racimo, Kumiko Nakagawa, Alvin Ing, Mae Wong, Carol Gordon Moora, Virginia Wing. Photo by Lia Chang

Flower Drum Song features Music by Richard Rodgers, Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Original Broadway Revival Choreography by Robert Longbottom , Music Direction by Ted Arthur, Additional Lyrics by Vanessa Brown, Lainie Sakakura, Orchestrations by Adam Kaufman and Costume Design by Jeremy Bailey-Smith.

Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang
Telly Leung, Alvin Ing, Jodi Long and Jose Llana. Photo by Lia Chang

Performers: Aaron J. Albano, Sandra Allen, Susan Ancheta, Alan Ariano, Paula Chin, Marcus Choi, Adrianne Chu, Ma-Anne Dionisio, Ali Ewoldt, Takayo Fischer, Lydia Gaston, Sally Hong, Joomin Hwang, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Sabrina Imamura, Miho Imoto, Alvin Ing, Nina Zoie Lam, Telly Leung, Jose Llana, Baayork Lee, Jodi Long, J. Elaine Marcos, Paul HeeSang Miller, Carol Gordon Morra, Kumiko Nakagawa, Ashley Park, Vicki Racimo, Catherine Ricafort, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Herman Sebek, Shawnee Smith, Riza Takahashi, Yuka Takara, Robert Tatad, Virginia Wing, Mae Wong, Ericka Yang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Lisa Yuen and Minami Yusui.

Downstage right and clockwise) - Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Ignacio Garcia, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center - Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang
Downstage right and clockwise – Aaron J. Albano, Minami Yusui, Yuka Takara, Jason Garcia Ignacio, Riza Takahashi, Joomin Hwang, Warren Yang, Kelli Youngman, Paul HeeSang Miller, Adrianne Chu, Sabrina Imamura, Telly Leung, Center – Ericka Hunter. Photo by Lia Chang

Red Bucket Follies (#redbucketfollies) will feature guest appearances by Mike Birbiglia (Mike Birbiglia’s The New One); Norbert Leo Butz and Harry Hadden-Paton (My Fair Lady); Kevin Chamberlin (Wicked); Noma Dumezweni, Poppy Miller and Paul Thornley (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child); Erika Henningsen, Ashley Park, Kate Rockwell, Kyle Selig and Jennifer Simard (Mean Girls); Cherry Jones (The Lifespan of a Fact); and Michael Urie (Torch Song).

Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee) Rommy Sandhu. Photo by Lia Chang
Legacy Robe recipients: Aaron J. Albano, Nina Zoie Lam, Lydia Gaston, Catherine Ricafort, J. Elaine Marcos, Lainie Sakakura, Rommy Sandhu, Alan Ariano, (not pictured: Baayork Lee). Photo by Lia Chang

This year’s songs, skits and dances will feature more than 150 singers and dancers. Broadway shows scheduled to perform include Chicago, Frozen, Hamilton, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, and Wicked, as well as Off-Broadway’s Avenue Q, Fiddler on the Roof – in Yiddish and NEWSical The Musical. Representing Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, choreographer Billy Griffin will share an original piece created for this year’s Hudson Valley Dance Festival.

Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang
Daniel May, Alan Ariano, Telly Leung, Yuka Takara, Robert Longbottom and Lainie Sakakura. Photo by Lia Chang

A panel of distinguished judges will award best presentation honors at Tuesday’s performance. This year’s judges are music supervisor Mary-Mitchell Campbell (Mean Girls, The Prom); Ali Ewoldt and Jay Armstrong Johnson (The Phantom of the Opera); the legendary Rosemary Harris (My Fair Lady); Andy Karl and Orfeh (Pretty Woman); Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla (The Prom); Peppermint (Head Over Heels) and Nicolette Robinson(Waitress). Also joining the panel are Nathan Noh and Peg Wendlandt, who won their judging spots by bidding on exclusive VIP packages at the 32nd Annual Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction in September.

Ultimate Broadway buff Seth Rudetsky, host of SiriusXM’s “On Broadway” channel, returns to lead the festivities for the 11th year. The show also will include a number, directed and choreographed by Karla Puno Garcia, honoring the national touring shows that participated in the fall fundraising, and a tribute to Broadway Cares’ iconic red buckets, directed and choreographed by Chaz Wolcott.

Red Bucket Follies builds on the 29-year legacy of the Gypsy of the Year Competition. The show will continue to showcase ensemble members and special guests sharing original performances, with awards given to the best presentation and for the top fundraising Broadway, Off-Broadway and national touring shows for the six weeks’ efforts.

A limited number of tickets, starting at $30, are available. They can be purchased at broadwaycares.org.

Red Bucket Follies will be directed by Jason Trubitt with Matthew Kurtis Lutz serving as production stage manager and Ted Arthur as music director.

Since 1989, the 29 editions of Gypsy of the Year raised $76 million to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Red Bucket Follies will build on that tradition.

Photo Flash: BC/EFA’s RED BUCKET FOLLIES Celebrates Asian Americans On Broadway And The 60th Anniversary Of FLOWER DRUM SONG

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

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